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What You Need to Know Before Installing Macos Big Sur

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Ann Davis is an avid Hubspot-certified Content Marketer in the technology, health and wellness, and home and lifestyle niches.

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Big Sur Release

macOS Big Sur first came into the market in June 2020. With it came a new design language, which is the most significant change since the invention of MacOS X in 2001. The update is more than just about aesthetics as the improved Control Center promises to improve efficiency.

However, despite these significant upgrades in apps like Safari and Messages, the release is not without limitations. If you wish to install it, don't do so before checking out these Big Sur issues.

You Probably Shouldn’t Use it on Your Main Computer, Yet

The current version of macOS Big Sur is the early release. This means that you’re likely to run into weird bugs or potential incompatibility with some apps. For example, some users have reported that the Sync app and Google's backup crash on launch every time on startup.

However, this should be no cause for alarm. The developer probably knows about the limitations and will address them in the next release. Consider not installing the update for the moment if you largely rely on these two apps. It's also worth noting that some new features are not quite baked up. A great example is the Notification Center, as explained later.

Fortunately, despite this limitation, the installation of Big Sur is relatively smooth. All you need is to sign up for Apple’s beta program. Download the relevant installer to guide you in the entire process that takes about 40 minutes, depending on the Mac. Remember to create a backup for your data before going forward to be on the safe side.

The Change Is Not as Drastic As It Seems

The hype that came with the news of the release of Big Sur may have been exaggerated. The revamp isn’t the most dramatic since the release of OS X Yosemite in 2014. Most of the user interface elements remain unchanged, especially the dock, menu bar, and the Launchpad app launcher. The Mission Control Window also works like it previously did, but Mac's whole new look is slightly different.

Apple chose brightly colored desktop wallpaper, and the menu bar is translucent. These are small tweaks that make Big Spur feel like a new thing. The toolbar buttons float all over the screen like it is with iOS.

They have no border, and they don’t show where to click. To some users, these are minor but pleasant tweaks that only appeal to users depending on their preferences.

The Notification Center is Some Piece of Work

While the Control Center comes with significant changes that enhance your Mac's control, the Notification Center isn't too pleasant. The Control Center is home to a bunch of commonly used settings like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Do-Not-Disturb function. You can see everything by clicking the sliders icon.

Before the update, these settings sat on the menu for quick and easy access, but they felt cluttered. The new version allows you to quickly pick what you need to access and place them on the menu bar. The rest of the functions are in the Control Center.

Notification Center

On the other hand, the Notification Center sits in a sliding pane. You can pull it out from the screen's right side, where it shares space with widgets. If you have several notifications to show, click on the “show more” icon for more access.

The widgets have been made more accessible than they were before. You can enable third-party widgets in the Big Sur beta to help enhance your apps. The new design also provides for better organization of your screen. You can manage multiple open windows with a lot more ease while interacting with the other apps.

On the downside, the notifications need some polishing. One shortcoming is that it's not very clear how to clear them. When you hover over them, an X appears to clear them, but it sometimes appears and disappears at random. Apple should consider ironing out these bugs in the next release.

The Tracking Protection Details on Safari are Not Actionable

Apple has promised a variety of improvements to the performance of the Safari app. However, it's not known if the upgrades will come out soon. However, one thing you'll appreciate with the new release is the Privacy Report.

Close to the URL bar is a small shield symbol. When you click on it, you can see the web-browsing trackers detected by Safari on the page. Previously, the app had a built-in tracking protection feature that is now not available.

Trackers

The drop-down for privacy tracking is expandable into a full view of everything blocked by Safari and related to tracking. It displays how many trackers the app has blocked within 30 days and the sites you visit using trackers.

The information also includes the trackers on every site you visit and the most contacted tracker. All this information is probably more than what you’ll need, but the transparency aspect is what makes it attractive. On the downside, there isn't much you can do about it or with the information.

Overall, the app is now faster and consumes less battery power than before. You can also customize it with custom-selected wallpapers and various sections.

Messages are Not Yet on Par with the iOS App

One of the most attractive apps by Apple is Messages on Mac. However, it has been lagging behind its iOS counterpart for the longest time. Between Big Sur and iOS 14, a handful of nice upgrades could put the two systems at par again.

You can send messages with different effects like balloons and confetti and have access to stickers and GIFs. More useful features are the ability to pin conversations, inline replies and mentions, and improved search functionality. However, you may not fully maximize this feature when communicating with users without the Big Sur on their end.

Final Thoughts

macOS Big Sur is here with us and comes with a set of exciting features. The version available is mainly for developers and beta testers. The full update is expected to be released soon, and hopefully, it'll be compatible with all Macs.